Military and Veterans Affairs is proud to serve the military, veterans and families. Our veteran service officers provide benefit counseling, claims development and case management to more than 300,000 veterans in Los Angeles County. During 2015, we filed 16,000 veterans’ claims, which generated more than $21 million in federal benefit awards.
The department operates from 13 locations, including our headquarters at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in downtown Los Angeles. We opened a new service center in South Whittier – Liberty Community Plaza, which serves the growing needs of the veteran community. Our Women’s Veterans Program continues to expand its audience and receive recognition throughout the county and state. More than 300 women veteran’s claims were filed, generating $26 million in compensation benefits.
Our Military Reservist Leave Coordinator partners with county departments to ensure that employees who are active military reservists receive the salary and benefit coverage to which they are entitled during their service to our country.
On November 11, we launched the Veteran Driver License and I.D. program. In just one month, we verified more than 1,000 applications so veterans can apply for the veteran designation on their driver’s license or I.D. card.
We also celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Ending of World War II, presenting 180 heroes with World War II medals and honoring their service.
The department also submitted the Homes for Heroes report that focused on strategies to connect homeless veterans to a stable permanent home. Among other things, we recommended improving access to existing housing stock, removing the multiple financial and procedural move-in barriers, and tightening the Housing Safety Net, including the veteran’s claims process.
The Board of Supervisors recognized the County Veteran of the Year, Irene Cruz, along with our Veteran’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Dick Littlestone. Corporal Cruz, a Marine veteran, has helped homeless veterans obtain housing, employment and veteran’s benefits. Colonel (ret) Dick Littlestone, an Army veteran, began his civic engagement during the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles. Colonel Littlestone is an 18-year advocate for the veteran’s columbarium annex at the Los Angeles National Cemetery.